I was talking to a fellow preacher the other day about the difficulties and challenges of preaching sermons that both touch the people as well as sit under the smile of God. We talked about the inclination today to resort to tactics and tricks to manufacture a connection to the congregation that is neither real nor helpful.
Preaching Under the Frown of God
I heard a preacher the other day who obviously did not put in the hard work of thinking theologically about the lives that his people were living. In addition, the strong scriptural foundation was missing as well. That preacher preached a sermon that did not touch the people. Then, while noticing his floundering, he simply started whooping. The people start shouting, yes, but were they equipped to handle any real engagement with the world or helped in their struggle within it? This kind of preaching is useless.
When people in the congregation have a difficult week, do they have the message that God intended them to have to help them through their struggle when we don’t do our diligent work as preachers? When Grandma died did we deny them the spiritual nourishment from the pulpit that God could have used to aid them through that struggle, because of our sloth in preparation? Even though the people may shout through weak attempts to placate the congregation, God frowns on those efforts.
Are Your Sermons Insulting God?
You may get speaking engagements. You may get the call to pastor the church. But eventually it will catch up with you. Yelling, whooping, and “celebrating” at the end of a WEAK sermon is like sprinkling sugar over some dung and serving it to your spouse on your 50th wedding anniversary. It is worse than inappropriate; it is insulting to the people and your God.
Preaching is hard work, and God is there to help us at every step of the way. Certainly you will not always hit a “home run,” but don’t serve the people warmed over slop, tack a whoop at the end, and then relish in the misguided approbations of humanity. The people may shout, but you aren’t fooling God, and you aren’t helping your people when you serve slop in the pulpit.